October 5, 2012

Day Eighteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the editing edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , at 7:07 am by z. l. sasnett

I do not like to write – I like to have written. – Gloria Steinem

I have determined that the above quote, with a minor adjustment, fits me perfectly.

I do not like to edit – I like to have edited.

Editing is like pulling teeth with me. It’s not like I can’t see that something needs editing. Looking back on the editing, I know it’s much better for it. Every pass through something illuminates my writing weaknesses, not that it bothers me. I actually enjoy seeing where I need to pay more attention, where things are slap-dash and pasted on in the rush of getting the story down.

The glimmer of jewels are there, beneath the rough surroundings. I can see them.

And when I’m out on the other side, I can look at it and go ‘wow, that really came together!’

Damn but I hate having to get from knowing there’s something there and finally seeing that it’s there.

My biggest concern is that my editing energy starts high at the beginning. It flags around the middle. It completely peeters out at the end. Which does what? Gives me a stellar beginning, an adequate middle and a ‘what-the-shit-is-this-hot-mess’ end.

A couple of tricks get me past that. One is to edit when energy is high and stop when it starts to wane. I can recognize the signs my attention is flagging and I stop there, making a note in the text. Next time, I pick up there and go. Rinse, repeat until I get to the end. For short pieces, I do that twice.

Then, I start at the end and move one paragraph at the time back to the beginning cleaning up any unclear wording and logic flow until I get to the beginning. This, I found, has been the most useful in editing so far. I’ve caught problematic wording, pronoun confusion and even some logic flow issues moving from back to front that I missed the two times I edited top down.

And it’s fun editing end to beginning, oddly enough, considering I’d rather have the kitten climb my bare leg with her razor-sharp claws than to edit.

We all do what we can to make something that is usually not-fun, fun, right?


Now, on to Day Eighteen! Read the rest of this entry »


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